SPECIAL Movie Report: Recapping 2019 D23

The Mouse House dominated the headlines in the film industry Saturday as its D23 Expo event continued. Disney, which owns the rights to Pixar, LucasFilm and Marvel Studios unveiled several upcoming projects and showed off highlights from pictures soon to be released.


During a Marvel Studios portion of the Expo, Disney officials shared what’s next for its crew of superheroes now that the Infinity Saga has concluded. According to Deadline, one of the announcements made at the expo was the release date for “Black Panther 2,” which is now set to hit theaters on May 6, 2021.

During the event, series director Ryan Coogler discussed the picture on stage.

Courtesy Disney.

Another movie discussed during the Marvel portion was “The Eternals,” a new superhero picture starring Angelina Jolie. The movie will follow an alien race of immortals who travel to Earth with the mission of saving it from an evil force.

Along with Jolie, the movie stars Kumail Nanjiani, Salma Hayek, Kit Harington and Gemma Chan. The movie is scheduled for release on Nov. 6, 2020.

Courtesy Disney.

In the near future, Marvel fans will be able to see the super spy Black Widow on the big screen. During the expo, a new trailer was shown for the movie focusing on the spy Natasha Romanoff, who will once again be played by Scarlett Johansson.

The movie is expected to be a prequel film about Black Widow’s time as a spy before joining The Avengers. The picture is set for release on May 1, 2020.


Disney holds the rights for “Star Wars” so of course the space saga made an appearance during the expo. The latest movie in the franchise, titled “Rise of Skywalker,” is set for release on Dec. 20 and will close out the Skywalker saga, which in total will span three trilogies.

According to The Verge, a new trailer was displayed at the expo for “Rise,” which focused heavily on the character trio of Rey, Poe and Finn. The Verge reported the most interesting bit of the trailer was Rey holding a red lightsaber, usually used by members of the evil Sith.

The Verge reports “Rise of Skywalker” will be the last movie in the franchise to come out for a while, as Disney is taking a break. The series isn’t expected back on the big screen until 2021.

Rise poster

Live Action

When bringing up the movie “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” at D23, Angelina Jolie who stars in the titular role was able to make it out on stage. During her time at the expo, Jolie was able to discuss the sequel to the 2014 flick and new footage was shown.

According to MovieWeb, Jolie said “now in this one, we return and see that Aurora is older and they’re facing the world and challenges of the world and it is being emphasized to them how different they are.”

The film is set to open Oct. 18.

Disney also showed off a new streamable movie coming in November at the expo. This one, like other recent Disney projects, is a live action remake. This time on “Lady and the Tramp.”

Disney also gave audiences a first look at the movie “Cruella,” a live action re-telling of “101 Dalmations.” The movie will star Academy Award winner Emma Stone as the titular character.

According to Variety, the movie will tell the story of Cruella before the events of the original animated feature. The movie will also star Emma Thompson, Paul Walter Hauser and Joel Fry.

First look at the movie “Cruella.”


On the animation side of things, Disney revealed one of its new pictures titles “Raya and the Last Dragon.” According to ComingSoonNet, the movie is inspired by Southeast Asian cultures, with an emphasis on Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Laos.

The movie, set to be released Nov. 26, 2020, is directed by Paul Briggs and Dean Wellins The movie is written by Adele Lim, who previously wrote “Crazy Rich Asians.” Starring in the picture in voice roles are Cassie Steele and Nora “Awkwafina” Lum.

ComingSoon reports the movie takes place in a fictional place called Kumandra and follows a lone warrior on a quest to save the world and find the last dragon in existence.

Concept art of Raya and the Last Dragon, from Disney’s Twitter.

Of course before 2020 rolls around, Disney will first release a sequel to its 2013 picture “Frozen.” The movie, set to open Nov. 22 this year, will delve into why Elsa has powers and where were their parents going when they passed away.

According to The Los Angeles Times, the first and second movies will serve as “one complete story.” The Los Angeles Times also found the movie appears to be a sort of coming-of-age story.



Under Disney’s Pixar studio, the company announced the voice cast for another animated movie at its expo titled “Soul.” According to Variety, the movie features a cast including Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Daveed Diggs and Phylicia Rashad.

Variety reports that “Soul” will show case humans who come pre-installed with a soul form. Foxx is a middle-school music teacher who hopes of playing at a legendary New York jazz club. In a twist sort of like that in the movie “Coco,” Foxx’s character finds himself in a soul form through a series of events which launches the story.

SoulConcept Art
Concept art for “Soul” from Walt Disney.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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